What makes people addicted to drugs? It’s a complicated question and difficult to answer as there are so many variables at play. For many addicts, it’s difficult to imagine a life without their drug of choice, which can make it difficult to stop. In addition, drug addiction can ruin multiple lives, not only that of the addict themselves but also their support network, whether family or friends. Therefore, if you have a friend who has a severe drug addiction, you might be wondering how you can help them understand that they are loved, and they need to kick the habit for the good of everyone involved.

Understand the signs of addiction.

There is a mixture of warning signs that can alert you to the possibility of someone who craves drugs. These are often a mixture of behavioral and physical, such as:

  • Insufficient motivation: Those on drugs will often exhibit decreased motivation of anything unrelated to their drug of choice. The only desire is to get high.
  • Susceptible to mood swings: A person addicted to drugs can become angry and violent with minimal external stimuli.
  • Responsibilities not carried out: The first warning sign is usually when your friends begin to neglect their duties. In worse-case scenarios, this could even mean ignoring the needs of children.
  • Anxiety: They will be anxious whenever they have not taken their drugs. All they will be thinking about is how and when they can get another hit.
  • Unexplained weight loss/gain: This is a common symptom of drug abuse, and the effect will vary depending on which drug they are taking. Generally speaking, the most problematic illegal drugs will cause weight loss.
  • Excessive nausea and vomiting: Another common symptom and often causes weight loss is when they constantly feel or become ill.
  • Excessive sweating: This typically occurs when they have gone some time without taking the drug.

Once you have identified the symptoms and confirmed that your friend is suffering from addiction, you can move on to the first step, which unfortunately is also often the hardest.

First step: intervention.

Approaching someone who suffers from addiction can be challenging. It may not be easy for loved ones or friends to know what to say, even though they mean well. Often, the addicted person rejects acknowledging that they suffer from a drug or alcohol problem, making it hard to discuss the issue openly. This is when an intervention is needed to begin the process of recovery. An intervention occurs when loved ones and an addict have a structured conversation, and intervention experts often coordinate it. These experts are often medical or therapeutic specialists either from a hospital or from a dedicated rehabilitation center. An intervention can be used in a variety of scenarios (all interconnected with addiction): 

  • To overcome drug addiction.
  • To help cope with a difficult or traumatic event.
  • To change someone’s unhealthy or inappropriate behavior. 

When individuals struggle with drug abuse, an intervention can help them reach a point where they can begin making changes. 

Rehabilitation.

There are many different types of rehabilitation centers, but they all serve a similar function. These centers provide a safe, supportive, and structured environment for people who have been recommended by their doctors or intervention specialists to undergo rehabilitation for their drug addiction. Rehabilitation is a process to restore or recover one’s mental, physical, social, and spiritual capabilities to their previous state. 

Rehabilitation is usually accomplished through various forms of therapy, which is a group of techniques or methods designed to change one’s behavior, relieve pain and suffering, and help one to become more independent and less dependent on using artificial means to feel better. White River Recovery in the Netherlands, a professional rehabilitation center, suggests a peaceful and picturesque setting that promotes inner harmony and self-reflection that will ultimately result in recovery. This concept suggests that spending time outside may be a suitable replacement and reduce triggers. By reducing the temptation and giving the mind something else to think about, a rehabilitation center surrounded by nature can offer relief and a chance at a new life.

Remove triggers.

You need to understand what triggers your friend’s drug use for you to develop a plan to deal with those issues and help them. It is also crucial in reducing the chances of relapse once they finally come off. Some of the more common triggers include:

Stress.

Addiction to drugs is primarily a result of stress. The short, intense bursts of stress typical of the modern workplace have been shown to cause the release of stress hormones. One symptom of these hormones is addiction. People can use drugs to escape from the stress of everyday life, but a significant problem is how addiction can lead to drug use becoming a habit and other drug addictions. By removing as much pressure from their lives as possible, you will be assisting in their recovery.

People connected to their addictive behaviour.

While you might be their true friend by looking out for their well-being, they will likely have other “friends” that they hang out with and who facilitate or enable their addiction. Therefore, you must attempt to separate them from this world that is devastating their lives and help them to focus on the things that matter in life. This might be connecting them with family members or allowing them to find a hobby.

Emotional events.

It might sound counterproductive to keep your friend away from birthdays and weddings, but these places are often the cause of drug abuse in the first place. Some people cannot handle emotion adequately, and when overcome with it, they turn to drugs. This can be equally true for happy emotions as it can be for sad ones. By keeping the distance from such events, you will remove a potential trigger.

Keep them on the wagon.

Helping your friends become clean again is more than a few weeks of rehab and assistance; it is a long-term thing. You will have to be by their side all the time to keep them from relapsing or falling prey to negative emotions that can cause them to spiral uncontrollably towards darkness. Nevertheless, some people will recover quicker than others, and once they have regained a sufficient amount of self-control, they will be in a position to keep themselves from relapsing.

Drugs can destroy families and relationships, and seeing friends fall victim to them is always heartbreaking. However, there are some things you can engage in that will aid them in turning their lives around and returning to the person they were before their descent.

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